By Benoit Chavanne, volunteer in Valparaiso, Chile
On Sunday December 1, the communities of Valparaiso and Santiago accompanied by some friends of Porvenir Bajo - our neighborhood - made a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Los Vasquez. It was a day of intense joy in which our friendship got strengthened by simply sharing time together in the midst of nature, chatting, playing with the kids.
And play we did! Football, water games, hide-and-seek, and many more! These are kids who can sometimes be so difficult, due to the lots of energy that they do not know how to use productively. I came to realize that in fact they just need a little attention, lots of affection and some creativity to always do something new. And I also realized that I begin to love these children so much. How beautiful to spend time playing with them!
The big surprise of the day was the traditional dances in thanksgiving to Mary for all the graces received throughout the year. It was something magical, amazing, hard to put into words. Each community had their own costumes and dances, musicians and melodies. Upon seeing that feast of colors, I could not but thank the Lord for being here in Chile, for the beauty of the Chilean culture and Chilean people whom I am still discovering and who are stretching my heart.